Yes, another post on Mcrypt, but this time for OSX Mavericks. I cannot stress how frustrated I was when upgrading to Mountain Lion hosed my web development environment, let alone when it did it again upgrading to Mavericks. Here is a great post on compiling PHP 5.4.17 with Mcrypt on OSX 10.9.
Having problems installing PHP5-MCrypt on Ubuntu 13.10? You’re not alone. Apparently this is a bug with the latest version of Ubuntu, where they changed the default location for php modules, but mcrypt was apparently left behind. For full details and a workaround, feel free to visit this Ubuntu Stack Exchange thread.
Starting from scratch, with severely limited free time, has been a challenge – to say the least. However, it has afforded me a few luxuries; most notable is that I can truly start fresh. Because of this, I have taken quite a bit of time to step back and evaluate new directions. My current company, Epoxy Labs, has served me well for many years. However, much of the work I have produced under that entity is either locked away behind NDA’s or no longer online. This was by design; it was meant to provide income and experience, not an elaborate, hyped portfolio. It also worked out well because my work spoke for itself and word of mouth recommendations replaced any need for ever advertising my services. However, times are changing – as is the model for the web. Custom, contract-driven, one-off solutions are no longer the value proposition that I want to target. Instead, I feel that its time to move on to something new. My goal now is to create a fresh company with a focus on delivering simple, intuitive and elegant SaaS solutions; read: products. These need to be so compelling that the ROI is instantly understandable and the barrier to purchase must be incredibly low. They need to be worth their weight in gold, but cost the same as tin.
With that in mind, I will be setting up and transitioning to a new entity: Alchemy Codeworks. Epoxy Labs will not be restored and the remaining components will be shut down. It’s going to take a few weeks to get everything finalized and setup, but expect something awesome.
If you’re thinking of taking a similar step towards your own work, I highly recommend reading the following books:
I have finally gotten The Tomboy and the Geek back online! This is third site I needed to restore and is right in-line with my Year of the Hustle post. This particular site is meant to help keep our friends and family in the loop with what we’ve been up to. The site previously housed years worth of pictures and content, so it will take a while to get the old content (as much as we still have) republished and available.
As for the nerdy details – the site is powered by WordPress (naturally), is hosted on Pagoda Box and behind a Cloudflare CDN. In addition to that, the site is running a Redis cache that is storing both the session states and the content. I’m making nightly backups of the site which are emailed offsite and then stored in secure cloud solution. The content is also being abstracted to other providers (Vimeo, YouTube, Picasa Web Albums, etc) and simply being referenced. In this regard, if there ever is another incident, recovering should be as simple as a Git push and a DB restore. Lets hope I never have to test that.
I am happy to report that http://www.curtisrissi.com up and online! Its not much, but its at least a start and will continue to increase in functionality over time. As mentioned in my post, “The Year of the Hustle“, this is simply one item of step one, but is, by far, my most critical site and seeing tangible progress is invigorating. The site is my first real attempt at implementing a Twitter Bootstrap theme and was a great learning experience. If anyone reading this has suggestions, please list them in the comments; I’d love to hear them.
For the past few months I have been experimenting with the various Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers for PHP and the winner so far is hands down – www.Pagodabox.com. This amazing tool is still under active development, but is insanely cheap and offers some amazing functionality that its competitors don’t. Probably most compelling feature is its support for persistent files storage with – wait for it – SSH access. That’s correct – not everything has to be stored in Git. If you haven’t decided on a PHP PaaS solution, or even if you already have, I recommend checking them out.
2013 has begun and so far its off to a great start; the holidays were fantastic, the kids are happy and Nancy and I have a renewed focus on making ourselves independent. In a nutshell, this year is going to be the year of the hustle. To help kick it off with a bang, my focus is going to be on new sites and projects built with modern tools and cloud-based infrastructure. Yup, if it all works out, 2013 is going to be one wild ride.
Rough plan of attack:
- Restore lost web assets. This includes www.curtisrissi.com, www.boringgeek.com, www.thetomboyandthegeek.com and www.epoxylabs.com. Some of you may know that I lost my sites due to my EC2 instance getting hacked by a botnet – and laziness with regard to my own backups. This time around the sites are going to be hosted on an online PaaS – www.pagodabox.com with Cloudflare acting both as a CDN and a threat management solution.
- Restore my portfolio. I’ve been pretty much out of development for almost two years now as I’ve been working as a PM and Manager during the day. I’m realizing this isn’t my desired career path and that my portfolio has pretty much evaporated in front of my eyes. To help, I’m getting up to speed with some cool projects such as Twitter Bootstrap and Laravel.
- Introduce two simple SaaS applications. I’m going to target online services that have their own app stores, such as Shopify and Big Commerce among others. This is an effort to bring in some extra income to help reduce debt so that I can focus on item number 4.
- Complete one 30×500 style project. For those not familiar with 30×500, you can learn all about it here: Amy Hoy’s 30×500. In a nutshell the concept is producing one useful product or service that you can sell to 500 people for $30 a month. That equates to roughly $180K a year in income. The idea isn’t to get rich, but instead to make a living on your own.
- Get my name back out into the wild. To do this, I plan on speaking, at minimum, at one conference and contributing to at least two open source projects. We’ll see how this goes.
If you have any additional ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’ll update this list as new goals materialize.